The Chevy Bolt is a nice car — and especially attractive in terms of its 238 miles of range, which will give me a TON more freedom to go where I want than my 2014 Nissan LEAF with 84 miles of EPA-rated range. [Photo Credit: Photo By Christof Demont-Heinrich

blog logoNow that it’s become clear to me that I will not get a great deal on a Chevy Bolt lease here in Colorado, primarily because Colorado is not a CARB/ZEV state and GM therefore has little incentive to lease Bolts at a consumer friendly price in the Rocky Mountain State, I have started to mull over buying a Bolt instead, possibly in California.

My long-term electric car plan  has been to –>

  1. Lease my 2014 LEAF until I could get into an affordable EV with significantly more range than the 84 miles my 24kwh LEAF is rated to.
  2. Lease a second electric car for three years. And this EV must have 200+ miles (sorry Nissan) because I live in a one-car only household AND I want to be able to drive into the Rocky Mountains west of Denver and BACK to Denver without necessarily having to charge. Also, after 3 1/2 years in a car with 70 to 95 miles of range, I’m tired of worrying about whether I’ll have enough charge on days where I have to drive a lot in the Denver-Boulder area, when it’s super cold, etc. (it’s already 45 miles to Boulder, 90 miles round trip, where I often take my kids to visit my brother and his family from where I live in Littleton, Colo.).
  3. After leasing for another three years, then finally BUY an electric car, as I am expecting that in three years there will be affordable 300+ mile electric cars, and 300 miles is definitely enough for me (I’d need less, IF the EV charging infrastructure — outside of Tesla — were sufficient, but sadly it is not, especially not for mid-to-long-distance EV-ing).

So, my original plan was to wait three more years for an affordable 300+ mile EVs to buy.

However, the Chevy Bolt’s 250 miles is almost as good as 300 miles, and it IS good enough for lots of trips Denver to the mountains — which my 2014 LEAF has kept me away from.

So…I am mulling over buying a Bolt, again, perhaps in California, because I believe I could get a much better deal in California than in Colorado.

HOWEVER, before I do that, I kind of need to — ok, I really need to — get correct answers to the following questions –>

  1. Am I allowed to buy a Bolt in California and then register it in Colorado?
  2. If yes, do I get to claim the federal tax credit and the Colorado state tax credit, or just the latter, or neither one?
  3. If I am allowed to buy a Bolt California, register it in Colorado, AND claim both the federal and state tax credit, does that mean dealers in California would have little to any real incentive to sell a Bolt to me at a great price?
  4. I guess what I really mean in No. 3 is –> Can a California dealer sell a Bolt that gets registered out of state and whose owner claims both the Fed and out-of-state tax credit, and STILL have the Bolt sale “count” toward GM’s CARB/ZEV numbers?

Seems to me that if GM cannot count a Bolt sold to an out-of-state buyer in California toward its CARB/ZEV credits, I would not get any kind of deal on a Bolt in California, and it would be a waste of my time, and the dealer’s, for me to start looking for a purchase (not lease) deal in California.

Does anyone know the correct answers to the questions above — especially to No. 4, if California Chevy dealers have any real incentive to offer great Bolt deals to out-of-state buyers?

4 Responses

  1. Nicola

    Hi, I stumbled onto your site with the exact opposite problem. We live in LA and are moving to Vail Valley in another month. We hoped to bring our leased VW e-Golf with us, but are growing concerned how it will do esp. beyond the warmer months. We’re concerned it won’t be a “charge it at work” situation in Vail. Also, in colder months, if we add on snow tires— it will most likely lower our distance (looking around Eagle). Any experience to share in that region would be helpful. This would be our commuting car and curious what your experience has been.

    Did you find any benefits to leasing in CO versus CA? Wondering if we should buy out our lease here in CA and lease something new in CO. Thx!

    • Christof Demont-Heinrich

      Thank you for your comments — and for driving electric. A big advantage to leasing for me has been cost. I paid $269 a month for my 2014 lease and got the down payment I paid back as a tax credit from the State of Colorado, $2,500. My 2017 Bolt isn’t that much more $338 per month to lease, for a car that has 238 miles of range. Yes, cold weather does take a substantial toll on range, reduces it about 30% in severe cold — less than 20 degrees fahrenheit. I definitely have found leasing an EV to be the way to go for me. I might buy in 3 years, though, as I anticipate more affordable 300+ miles EVs, and 300 is plenty long enough for me to be willing to buy. I’d definitely recommend the Bolt as a great deal — again 238 miles of range for $338 a month, though I know you can get even better deals in California leases. That is one thing to consider — EV leases are better in California due to it being the premier “CARB” state. Colorado is not a CARB state. Happy electric driving!

  2. Ashley Y

    Did you ever find the answers to your questions? I find myself in the same boat and I am wondering about how that would all work

    • Christof Demont-Heinrich

      Hi Ashley,
      I am not certain about the answers to my questions, but I believe I would not have gotten the $2,500 Colorado State Tax rebate if I had leased my Bolt in Calif. Turns out I got a decent deal here in Colorado. The $2,500 State Tax Rebate ended up offsetting my $2,500 down payment to lease my 2017 Bolt for 39 months. I get 12k miles per year and my monthly payment = $338. That’s actually $150 less per month than the average new car payment in the USA AND it costs me just $350 per year to fuel my Bolt for 12k miles per year!


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